14 May 2017

Hydrofluorocarbon phase down should happen sooner, campaigners say

5:29 pm on 14 May 2017

The Green Party says the phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons is a necessary step but believes New Zealand could be more ambitious.

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Photo: AFP

The government has announced it plans to cut the use of the potent greenhouse gas by 80 percent by 2036, as part of an international agreement reached under the Montreal Protocol.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning and were introduced in the late 1980s to replace ozone-damaging CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).

While HFCs do not damage the ozone layer, they are a potent greenhouse gas.

New Zealand was one of 170 countries that agreed last year to phase out their use.

The Greens' co-leader, James Shaw, said the move did need to happen.

But he said the phasing down should happen more quickly.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock also believes the phase-down could happen sooner.

Greenpeace said the government's 20-year plan would be plenty of time for the development of new environmentally friendly technologies to replace them.

Ms Simcock said it was an important step in the fight against climate change.

"And I think 20 years is plenty of time for new technologies to come into the market and for these companies such as refrigeration companies to change the ways they work."

It is estimated about 13 percent of the damage from global warming comes from hydrofluorocarbons.